Reggae Boyz, Cuba clash in friendly international in MoBay
The Reggae Boyz will be looking to build on last Friday's uncomplicated 2-1 victory over Venezuela in their friendly international, when they tackle neighbours Cuba in another practice encounter, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, beginning at 8 p.m. today.
Jamaica looked really good, especially in the midfield, against the Venezuelans and will want to take the positives from that game into this evening's clash.
Forward Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo), who scored on his international debut, was good in the role and admitted he relished the opportunity and is hungry for more.
"It was a lovely feeling scoring for the Boyz, but I want to do more and we look forward to the Cuba game. Once we play well I am sure of victory," he said.
The Cubans held a first training session at WesPow Park on Saturday and are looking sharp ahead of the encounter, as both countries step up preparations for tournaments later in the year - the Copa America (in Jamaica's case); and the Gold Cup (for both teams), in the United States and Canada from July 7-26.
Walter Benitez, Cuba's head coach, said he was a little wary of the Reggae Boyz attackers.
He told The Gleaner he is hoping for a good match and a positive result, but pointed to the cadre of foreign-based Jamaicans as the differentiating factor.
"Jamaica is a good team. They are the Caribbean champions, with plenty of their players from leagues in the US and England. But I think we still have a little advantage in that all our players play in Cuba," Benitez said.
"That means that our players already know each other. What we are looking for from the game is a good execution and a result that is fair to our preparations," he said.
"We are pleased to have the Jamaicans as opposition in this friendly international," he added. "We all know what Jamaica can do and this game is important as we continue our preparation for the Gold Cup."
Cuba qualified directly for the Gold Cup, after ending the 2014 Caribbean Cup - which was staged in Kingston and Montego Bay - in fourth place.